Project Status

Project Type:  Dug Well and Hand Pump

Regional Program: Southeastern Kenya WaSH Program

Impact: 300 Served

Project Phase:  In Service - Nov 2021

Functionality Status:  Functional

Last Checkup: 05/15/2024

Project Features

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Nzimba village is found on fairly hilly terrain with natural vegetation cover of indigenous tree species. None of the roads leading to the community are paved. A majority of the 1,500 community members living in Nzimba rely on small-scale farming and livestock rearing to make a living. People usually grow crops such as pigeon peas, millet, and green grams for their families to eat, selling any surplus at the market. With the vast lands available, community members also rear goats for sale to pay for family needs.

All 1,500 people here rely on one water point - a sand dam and shallow well, which we helped the community implement last year. With the whole community depending on it, the well becomes overcrowded at times. Time lost in line at the well is compounded with the time community members from the farthest ends of the village spend on their walk to the well, making the chore particularly long and tedious.

"I have been drawing water from the project we implemented last year since its completion. It is a bit far for me because it takes me more than one hour to the well and back. The implementation of more projects on our side downstream would help those of us hailing from this side to access water more easily and engage in more personal development activities," said Mwikali Muthengi.

Our main entry point into Nzimba Community has been the Kasilu Self-Help Group, which is comprised of households that are working together to address water and food scarcity in their region. These members will be our hands and feet in constructing water projects and spreading the message of good hygiene and sanitation to everyone.

We typically work with self-help groups for up to five years on multiple water projects. This Kenyan region is semi-arid, which means that rains are infrequent, and people often travel long distances for water. Completing multiple water points in a community will ensure that people like Mwikali no longer spend a significant part of their day walking to get water.

"Fetching water is a daily affair in our community. Many people meet at the water point, all seeking to fetch water since it is the sole water point in the village. This makes it congested, and sometimes it takes more time than expected. Implementation of more projects can help address the challenge as people will have many projects to access water from," added Mbuli Mutisya.

Reliable Water for Nzimba

Hand-Dug Well

This particular hand-dug well will be built adjacent to a sand dam project, which will supply clean drinking water once it rains. We have supplied the group with the tools needed for excavation. With the guidance of our artisans and mechanics, the excavated well will be cased, sealed with a well pad, and then finished with a new AfriDev pump.

Excavation takes a month or more on average, depending on the nature of the rock beneath. Construction of the well lining and installation of the pump takes 12 days maximum. The well will be lined with a concrete wall including perforations so that once it rains, water will filter in from the sand dam.

This well will bring clean water closer to families.

New Knowledge

These community members currently do their best to practice good hygiene and sanitation, but their severe lack of water has been a big hindrance to reaching their fullest potential.

We will hold hygiene and sanitation training sessions with the Self-Help Group and other community members to teach about important hygiene practices and daily habits to establish at the personal, household, and community level. This training will help to ensure that participants have the knowledge they need to make the most out of their new water point as soon as water is flowing.

One of the most important topics we plan to cover is the handling, storage, and treatment of water. Having a clean water source will be extremely helpful, but it is useless if water gets contaminated by the time it is consumed. We will also emphasize the importance of handwashing.

We and the community strongly believe that all of these components will work together to improve living standards here, which will help to unlock the potential for these community members to live better, healthier lives.

We typically work with self-help groups for 3 to 5 years on multiple water projects. We will conduct follow-up visits and refresher trainings during this period and remain in contact with the group after all of the projects are completed to support their efforts to improve sanitation and hygiene.

Project Updates

November, 2021: Nzimba Community C Hand-Dug Well Project Complete!

Nzimba Community C, Kenya, now has a new source of water thanks to your donation. We constructed a new hand-dug well adjacent to a new sand dam on the riverbed. The sand dam will build up sand to raise the water table and naturally filter water, while the well will provide a safer method of drawing drinking water for the community.

It could take up to three years of rain for this sand dam to reach maximum capacity, because sometimes it only rains once a year! As the sand dam matures and stores more sand, the surrounding landscape will become lush and fertile.

16-year-old Musyoka M. shared all the things about his life that will change with reliable water. "I will no longer have to walk long distances searching for water. My academic performance will improve because I will no longer spend time searching for water and I will not be absent from school due to diseases that occur due to water contamination. My hygiene and sanitation levels will also improve because the water is enough to conduct personal hygiene and sanitation."

Hand-Dug Well Construction Process

Construction for this well was a success!

We delivered the experts, materials, and tools, but the community helped get an extraordinary amount of work done, too. They collected local materials to supplement the project, including sand, stones, and water. When all of the materials were ready, it was time to dig in!

First, we excavated a hole 7 feet in diameter up to the recommended depth of 25 feet. (Most hand-dug wells do not reach that depth due to hard rocks between 10-18 feet). As planned, the diameter shrank to 5 feet when the well lining was complete. This lining is made of brick and mortar with perforations to allow for water to seep through. When the well is complete, sand builds up around its walls, which will naturally filter the rainwater stored behind the dam.

Once the lining reached ground level, we laid a precast concrete slab on top of the lining and joined it to the wall using mortar. The concrete dried for two weeks before installation. In preparation for the hand pump's installation, we fixed four bolts onto the slab during casting.

Next, the mechanics arrived to install the pump as community members watched, learning how to manage simple maintenance tasks for themselves. Finally, we gave the well another few days after installing the pump to let the joints dry completely. We installed the pump level with the top of the sand dam. As the dam matures, sand will build up to the top of the wall. Until then, people will use the concrete steps to get their water.

We worked with the Kasilu Self-Help Group for this project. The members and their families contributed materials and physical labor. We trained the group on various skills, including bookkeeping, financial management, project management, group dynamics, and governance. We also conducted hygiene and sanitation training to teach skills like soapmaking and improve behaviors such as handwashing.

New Knowledge

Our trainer conferred with the field staff about their previous visits to households and interviews with community members to determine which topics the community could improve upon.

We decided to train on health problems in the community, good and bad hygiene behaviors, the spread and prevention of disease, choosing sanitation improvements, planning for behavioral change, handwashing, and soapmaking.

"Honestly, we had relaxed in some practices like water treatment and handwashing: very critical practices whereby lack of keen attention may lead to spread of diseases at a very high rate," said 69-year-old Mutiso Kondo.

"Now, after that refresher, we have chosen to go start practicing. We will also install sanitation infrastructures that were not installed and make sure that we live according to the training. We will change the living standards in our area. We are going to share the knowledge and skills with our neighbors and friends in order to make a uniform change in our area."

"This training was valuable to me because it reinforced what we had been taught before," said Eunice Makasi, 33.

"I had lowered my guard concerning COVID-19 prevention but now I have been taught about the importance of contactless greeting, washing hands with soap, and proper household hygiene and sanitation. This information will help me stop the spread of COVID-19 at home while improving the living standards in my household."

When an issue arises concerning the well, the group members are equipped with the necessary skills to rectify the problem and ensure it works appropriately. However, if the issue is beyond their capabilities, they can contact our field officers to assist them.

Thank you for making all of this possible!

November, 2021: Nzimba Community Hand-Dug Well Project Underway!

A severe clean water shortage in Nzimba Community drains people’s time, energy, and health. Thanks to your generosity, we’re working to install a clean water point and much more.

Get to know this community through the introduction and pictures we’ve posted, and read about this water, sanitation, and hygiene project. We look forward to reaching out with more good news!

Project Photos

Project Type

Hand-dug wells have been an important source of water throughout human history! Now, we have so many different types of water sources, but hand-dug wells still have their place. Hand dug wells are not as deep as borehole wells, and work best in areas where there is a ready supply of water just under the surface of the ground, such as next to a mature sand dam. Our artisans dig down through the layers of the ground and then line the hole with bricks, stone, or concrete, which prevent contamination and collapse. Then, back up at surface level, we install a well platform and a hand pump so people can draw up the water easily.

A Year Later: "I can help my community."

February, 2023

A year ago, your generous donation helped Nzimba Community in Kenya access clean water – creating a life-changing moment for Katiwa. Thank you!

Keeping The Water Promise

There's an incredible community of monthly donors who have come alongside you in supporting clean water in Nzimba Community 2B.

This giving community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Nzimba Community 2B maintain access to safe, reliable water. Together, they keep The Water Promise.

We’re confident you'll love joining this world-changing group committed to sustainability!

Before we installed a sand dam and shallow well in Nzimba last year, community members had to walk ludicrous distances to reach the nearest water source.

“In the past, I had to walk about ten kilometers to acquire water from the nearest water point, because we are required to carry water to school each morning," said 16-year-old Katiwa C. "This exercise was exhausting and time-consuming, leaving me with little time to focus on my academic studies or playing with my friends. Conducting personal hygiene and sanitation was a luxury and occasional ordeal because water had to be used sparingly at home."

But now that there's a water point much closer to people on Katiwa's side of Nzimba, everyone has more time and energy for things they actually choose to do.

“The installed water point is easily accessible, and I spend no more than 15 minutes fetching water," Katiwa said. "I get more time to concentrate on my academic studies and playing with my friends. The shallow well offers clean water for drinking and cooking; thus, meals are prepared on time at home. Unlike the open scoop holes, the shallow well’s clean water is free from animal, wind, and human contamination because it is protected. Thus, I am no longer exposed to water-related infections (such as typhoid and amoeba).”

All this spare time has allowed Katiwa to start dreaming of her future, which looks much brighter than it did a year ago.

“My academic performance has improved because I do not have to walk several kilometers searching for water and get more [time] to study and play," Katiwa said. "Better academic performance will enable [me] to access better career opportunities in [the] future so that I can help my community as well. My personal hygiene and sanitation have also improved, enabling me to be comfortable and attentive in class.”

Katiwa at the well.

Navigating through intense dry spells, performing preventative maintenance, conducting quality repairs when needed and continuing to assist community leaders to manage water points are all normal parts of keeping projects sustainable. The Water Promise community supports ongoing sustainability programs that help Nzimba Community 2B maintain access to safe, reliable water.

We’d love for you to join this world-changing group committed to sustainability.

The most impactful way to continue your support of Nzimba Community 2B – and hundreds of other places just like this – is by joining our community of monthly givers.

Your monthly giving will help provide clean water, every month... keeping The Water Promise.


Project Underwriter - Water Buffalo
Project Underwriter - Water Buffalo
Buffalo Ventures
Water Buffalo Ventures
1 individual donor(s)